Comic Book Review: The Walking Dead, #31-36 (This Sorrowful Life)

"The Walking Dead is an American monthly black and white comic published by Image Comics beginning in 2003. The comic was created by writer Robert Kirkman and artist Tony Moore (replaced by Charlie Adlard from issue #7 onward) and chronicles the travels of a group of people trying to survive in a world stricken by a zombie apocalypse.

"The Walking Dead is centered around Rick, a small-town police officer from Cynthiana, Kentucky, his family, and a number of other survivors who have banded together in order to survive after the world is overrun with zombies. As the series progresses, the characters become more developed, and their personalities shift under the stress of a zombie apocalypse. Fighting growing despair — and sometimes each other — the group searches for a secure location which they can finally call home."

This Sorrowful Life marks the return of writer Robert Kirkman to his prime, taking The Walking Dead back to its chaotic roots. Although much has transpired for the group of survivors holed up safely inside their new home, the abandoned prison, from the waking horde of undead, nothing could have prepared them for their newest, more deadly foe: man. At the end of the last novel and beginning of this book we find Rick, Glenn, and Michonne captured by the ringleader, The Governor, and the residents of a nearby, blockaded town that entertain themselves with an arena where modern day gladiators fight amidst a circle of the living dead. But the three prisoners are too busy enduring various means of torture to plan for an escape. The Governor knows that since they couldn't have been walking around aimlessly in a world overrun by zombies, he means to find their hideout to steal their supplies, and if the situations presents itself, take over their facilities as an secondary base of operations.

But the three captives have no intentions of giving away their comrades, and they intend on fighting back. Rick suffers a serious injury, Glenn is kept in dark isolation, and Michonne suffers the worst torture of the three, even eventually being placed in the arena herself. This book is nefarious at the least, and is most probably the darkest the series has been to date. Kirkman is a master at storytelling, and most especially at writing people, their personalities, and the ever-looming dread that weighs heavy on his world's inhabitants. Let's just say that when Michonne gets her due revenge, I have never before seen anything so gruesome or gory in a comic book in my life. Thank God for the children that the artwork is in black in white. But don't worry. Rick isn't left out of the loop either. The last issue is absolutely essential to the kind of man he realizes he's becoming. In my opinion, this book has never been better.

Best quote: "I'll begin with some show and tell. I'm going to use everything here on you before you die."

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